Life's a beach ... but that's okay! 0
It's my birthday weekend, and I'm sitting on the patio filling up my grandson's wading pool. The garden hose gushes beneath the rising water, and I'm debating just how high to fill the thing, since the swimmer is only a year old and still a little shaky on his pins.
Maybe it's the humidity or the wine cooler, or the fact that I just lost about a billion brain cells blowing up the inflatable whale which bobs on the surface, but I'm feeling a little loopy and reflective today.
The radio perched near the barbecue has been belting out oldies from the sixties and seventies, and now Mick Jagger is repeating "You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need."
Funny, how you can hear a song at least once a week for over four decades, and you finally understand the words one hot Sunday afternoon.
I grab a seat at the picnic table and for the next half hour become hypnotized, watching the whale circle the water. The crazy thing seems to pause for a second, observing me, judging me with its dark, vinyl eye.
"Hey, what's so bad about this summer?" it seems to ask. "You're on holidays, wearing your favourite cutoffs, parked beside a pool on a sunny day. What else do you need?"
It hits me Mick is right. I didn't get what I wanted this summer. Limited finances meant I couldn't afford to rent a cabin for me and my kids like I had planned. And no journey out of province to see my family either. Instead, as Bridget Jones would say, our summer has consisted of "mini-breaks" to the local pool or the small beach half an hour away. And on days where I feel rich, I buy the expensive hot dogs.
My older kids complain because they remember wealthier days. The younger two only know a mom who makes the best of what she has. And for the most part, it's been good for them. They're unspoiled and grateful for the simple things.
But this summer, as my pathetic Facebook statuses indicate, I've been feeling sorry for myself and longing for times when I didn't have to nickel and dime everything, and big family vacations were what made summers special.
So here I sit. Instead of white sand beaches and live bands, I've got a plastic kiddie pool and oldies on the radio. Instead of a giant RV, I've got a battered minivan in my driveway.
But I'm ridiculously excited about watching my grandson chase the whale around the pool. And after the hot dogs, we're all walking down to the local ice cream place to indulge in the best sundaes in the world. My pale "office girl" legs are finally turning brown and my neighbours wave hello as they bike past.
True. I don't have everything I want. But I do have everything I need. Food, family, friends and the time to have fun. I'm not dining on sirloin steak at some fancy restaurant, but I'm sipping slushies in the sunshine. What more could a woman want?
The song's over, and now Burton Cummings is singing "she's come undone."
Maybe it's time to change the station. Maybe it's time to drag the couch on to the lawn and have another bonfire. Even marshmallows can be a delicacy if you roast them right.